Get up & Go with Travelodge - Brighton edition

If I had to pick a travel motto, “get up and go” would be a really strong contender. More often than not, I spend too much time thinking and overthinking where I want to go next. My bucket lit is about 50-cities strong so making decisions is not always as straight forward as you’d think; I change my mind at least 5 or 6 times before finally booking somewhere. This year, I definitely want to be more impulsive with my travels and just get up and go! 

I had a chance to put this new philosophy into practice when the team at the Travelodge got in touch asking how I’d feel about a little getaway somewhere of my choice in the UK, courtesy of their Get Up and Go campaign. They’re refurbishing over 500 of their hotels across Britain and are looking for bloggers to give them some feedback on their new look and to inspire people to explore the country. I hadn’t stayed in one of their hotels for a while so I jumped at the opportunity to discover their new room design and to be whisked away for a long weekend.

I picked Brighton. Although we weren’t very lucky with the weather, I couldn’t have picked a better place. This weekend break was everything I needed: the seaside, lots of coffee, independent shops, great food, picturesque narrow lanes…etc. It was so relaxing and thrilling at the same time. 

If you’re thinking of going, here are a few good addresses you should definitely check out:

Travelodge Brighton SeaFront Hotel - West St, Brighton, BN1 2RE
Location-wise, this is brilliant; it’s right in the centre, everything is a couple of minutes walk away. Our room was fairly compact but still comfortable. The bed was amazing! I think it was one of the new Dreamer beds they recently added to a lot of their bedrooms. The new look is nice; they’ve painted one of the walls in a lighter blue and added some colourful stripes on the curtains and bed runner. It looks a bit more modern than before. 

Silo - 39 Upper Gardner Street, Brighton, NR1 4AN
Plateau - 1 Bartholomews, Brighton, BN1 1HG
Blackbird - 30 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD
Cafe Coho - 53 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AF

Workshop - 13a Prince Albert Street, Brighton, BN1 1HE
Utility - 28A North Rd, Brighton, BN1 1YB
Beyond Retro - 42 Vine Street, Brighton, BN1 4AG
Buebird Tea Co. shop - 41 Gardner Street, Brighton, BN1 1UN

If you’re in the mood for something quirky and different, check out the Royal Pavilion 
Get lost in the North Laine and the Lanes
Go for a late afternoon walk on the beach
Explore the Brighton Pier and its amusement arcades 

Thank you Travelodge for a lovely weekend away! 

Apéro Friday

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. Work is rather hectic lately so the weeks just seem to fly by one by one. I did promise I’d share with you all some healthy recipes for aperos though and that's exactly what I'm going to do today.

This week, I wanted to talk about dips. I think they're a great options for aperos. They don't take long to whip up and you can prepare them in advance, which saves you time when you get back from work and have to start setting stuff up before your friends arrive. They can also be a great way to get rid of whatever vegetables or herbs you've got left in your fridge at the end of the week. All you need as a base really is some non-fat greek yogurt and some chickpeas.

I prepared 3 different dips:
- A tzatziki (greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, garlic, olive oil & chives)
- A lemon and coriander humous (chickpeas, greek yogurt, garlic coriander, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest)
- A green vegetable dip (I literally mixed anything green I had in my fridge: watercress, basil, parsley and spring onions, which I then combined with some anchovies, olive oil and greek yogurt). One warning with this one... It tasted great but was slightly too liquid for my liking so I'd recommend adding something to thicken it a little. Maybe more yogurt?

I will say though that the only thing with dips is that they're healthy providing you don't eat too much of them. In other words, they're good as long as you have them in small quantities. We all know how easy it is to snack on humous and carrots and ending up eating half a pot and being full for dinner (right?). So go for small quantities and serve in small cups. Try and do different ones as well. People like to have some choice and it'll look more visually appealing than a huge bowl of one sort of dip and some crackers on the side.

To drink, I served virgin mojitos (alcohol-free). The recipe is super simple. Mix mineral water, ice cubes, fizzy water, some mint leaves, a tea spoon of brown sugar and a few lime quarters. I heard you can also add apple juice. I've never tried but if you do, let me know!

What about you guys, do you have any healthy dip or cocktail recipes you'd like to share? 

A winter walk at Brancaster Beach

Rich and I drove to the North Norfolk coast today. It was a beautiful day so we thought we’d make the most of it with a walk along the beach in Brancaster and a pub lunch. There are lots of great (and fancy) restaurants in this area but we picked the super low-key Jolly Sailors pub. They had the renowned Brancaster mussels on their menu, which I desperately wanted to try. I’m so glad I did; they were delicious. They’re in season until April so you still have a few months to go if you’d like to give them a try? After that, it’ll be time for lobsters and crabs! 

After our lunch, we went to the beach. I wanted to stay until sunset but it was way too cold. We did have a lovely walk for a while though and it was great seeing the kite surfers getting ready to go at sea. Walking along a beach - no matter what the weather is - might be one of my favourite things to do at the weekend. That and going out for brunch. Something for tomorrow?

Are any of my followers based in Norfolk? I’d love to hear where you like going at the weekend. 

{Apero Friday} Prawn ceviche-like glasses

I'm not going to lie, aperos can be a little fattening. All the charcuterie, the cheeses, the dips, the bread, the alcohol... These aren't things I'd recommend you to eat (or drink) on a too regular basis. But this month, I want to show you that aperos can also be healthy. I'm not talking 2 celery sticks, a spoon of hummus and a bottle of fruit-infused water though. No, that would just be plain boring. I'm talking colourful and delicious appetizers that look good and taste good.

So I'm kicking off the first apero of 2015 with a super simple recipe packed with things that won't damage your waistline. The inspiration came from this recipe by Gina Homolka of Skinny Taste. But as always, I made some small modifications based on personal preferences and what I had in my fridge. The recipe is inspired by the Peruvian dish “ceviche”. It usually consists in raw fish marinated in lime or lemon and some spices. I'm in no way an expert in this type of cooking but I liked the concept so here we go, this is my take on it!

I wanted to use small glasses (they're the size of shot glasses). We call them verrines in french and they're very popular at the moment. It's a great way to pack lots of flavours in just a few spoonfuls. Plus, they look pretty, don't they?

This is what you'll need for 4 glasses:
½ finely chopped red onion
1 small lime, squeezed
½ lemon, squeezed
olive oil
10 cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
1 small avocado, diced into chunks
6 plum tomatoes, diced
¼ cucumber, diced, not peeled
a small handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
1 tsp of chopped chives
2 tsp of chopped parsley
Flor de sal (corse sea salt)
Black pepper

Quantities can easily be doubled or tripled if you wanted to do this dish a main, for lunch for example. Make a big tub of it and take it to work with you the next day.

Here's what you have to do to make your verrines:
1/Start by combining in a small bowl your red onion, lime juice, lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of your flor de sal and pepper. Mix well and let your ingredients marinate for 5-10 mins.
2/ Grab a large bowl and combine your prawns (keep some to put at the top of the verrines), avocado, tomato, cucumber, chives, parsley, another pinch of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Gently toss.
3/ Add in your onions and juice mixture, which should now be ready. Toss again. Taste and see if you want to add more salt, pepper, maybe some fresh red chili?
4/ Take your verrines and put some of your shredded lettuce at the bottom. Top with a few spoonfuls of your vegetables and fish. Add your prawns at the top to decorate.


I served my verrines with vegetable crisps (not that low cal but still better than regular crisps), a few plum tomatoes and a bottle of wine (you don't have to finish it). Stay away from cocktails, they're the worst, apart maybe from bloody marys but this wouldn't work with this dish anyway. If you do go for wine, this is a citrusy fishy appetiser so you'll want to go for a white wine.

Hope this helps! See you next Friday for another recipe and more tips on how to keep your aperos on the healthy side! 

Seal spotting at Horsey Beach

[First little adventure of 2015!] 

On a cold and icy morning, Rich and I got up early to drive to the beautiful Horsey beach on the Norfolk coast to see if we could spot some seals. There is a colony of Grey seals living there between end of November and early February. They come to the beach to give birth to their babies and hang about a little bit, as the fur of the newborns isn’t waterproof straight away so they can’t go in the water for very long. They just kind of bask in the sun and play on the beach for a few months until they’re ready to go. Not a bad life if you ask me.

We had never been to Horsey before so we didn’t know what to expect. I thought we’d only see the seals from far away but we were super lucky, as one of them decided to be adventurous and come a little closer! You can’t touch them of course but don’t they look super soft and adorable? 

If you’d like to see the seals too, head to Horsey this month while they’re ashore. There is a pay and display car park just by the coast (Horsey Gap). Postcode for sat-nav is NR29 4EF.